Tuesday, February 25, 2014
JHU Tournées Festival-The Minister (L’Exercice de l’etat) Time: 7:30p - 9:30p Location: Gilman 50 Details:
2011 / 115 min / In French with English subtitles
"Politics is a wound that never heals," admits Bertrand Saint-Jean, the beleaguered head of France's ministry of transportation in Pierre Schoeller's deft examination of power. Plagued by weird Sadean nightmares involving hooded black figures, naked women devoured by alligators, and his own asphyxiation, Saint-Jean must frantically scramble from one crisis to another: a horrific bus accident, contentious meetings over a plan to privatize France's train stations, explosive discussions with his colleagues in the cabinet, a near-death experience. The incomparable Gourmet (frequently cast in films by the Dardenne brothers) is utterly mesmerizing as he transforms from a man of principle to a pizza-scarfing, hectoring tyrant-who then reverts to someone slightly more humane. Schoeller's second feature (after 2008's tender adult-child buddy film Versailles) forgoes moralizing about ambitious politicians for a more complex (and rewarding) approach: uncovering the thin line that separates altruism from narcissism.
Presented by April Wuensch (Program in French Culture and Language, Johns Hopkins University.)